Monday, April 16, 2012

Prada on Women of a Certain Age

The opening of the 2012 Costume Institute Exhibition's “Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations” is just weeks away. A recent New York Times Style article entitled “The Edge Goes to the Women” looks at the careers of Elsa Schiaparelli and Miuccia Prada . The article's author wonders whether women are better designers than men. I’ve always liked Prada, especially her handbags and shoes. Unfortunately, my clothing budget only allows me to admire her creations from afar. The NY Times article includes several quotes by Prada, age 62 (her birthday is the same day as the exhibit’s opening—May 10th), which made me want to learn more about her. This post includes some of those quotes as well as ones I found elsewhere…

Here's what Miuccia Prada has to say about fashion and women of a certain age...

“Women always try to tame themselves as they get older, but the ones who look best are often a bit wilder. Thinking about age all the time is the biggest prison women can make for themselves.”

 “I hate the idea that you shouldn’t wear something just because you’re a certain age.”

“It’s important that you feel right, so I use an instinct at the last moment. What I think is unbearable is to wear something that we don’t feel comfortable in. It’s completely, totally psychological. One dress you felt so happy in for that day and that occasion, you put it on in another moment and all the magic is completely disappeared. There is a very tricky [relationship] between the occasion and your mind at that moment.”

“What you wear is how you present yourself to the world, especially today, when human contacts are so quick. Fashion is instant language.”

“If you compare it with philosophy, [fashion] is frivolous. But frivolity may be something good, something that is part of our lives. So I don’t dislike it. And what I like is the mix — that in your life you can have serious things, more frivolous ones.”

I’ll be curious to see how the Prada-Schiaparelli exhibit is received by the public. The annual Costume Institute exhibit has been a highlight of my summer for years and I was rather shocked by all the hoopla surrounding last year’s Alexander McQueen exhibit. For years, I’ve strolled right into the annual exhibit. If I waited on a line in the past, it wasn’t memorable. Last year, my son and I waited 90 minutes to get into the McQueen exhibit. I think I’ll plan to get to the museum when it opens to avoid the crowds this year--just in case. The exhibit runs from May 10-August 19. To learn more, click An Impossible Conversation.